Handbook on Intervention and Statebuilding
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Handbook on Intervention and Statebuilding

Edited by Nicolas Lemay-Hébert

This innovative Handbook offers a new perspective on the cutting-edge conceptual advances that have shaped – and continue to shape – the field of intervention and statebuilding.
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Chapter 11: Post-conflict statebuilding as contentious politics

Outi Donovan


This chapter is concerned with domestic practices that seek to contest international statebuilding measures. This line of inquiry stems from the need to generate knowledge on the ways in which international statebuilding is mediated and re-negotiated in local spaces. Rather than focusing on the much-analyzed hidden/everyday forms of resistance, the objective of the analysis is to understand the parallel, disruptive practices that directly challenge the international statebuilding project. These particular forms of contention are important as they explicitly engage with the coercive power of international statebuilding. To explore such dynamics, I deploy a set of conceptual tools developed by scholars of contentious politics: international political opportunity structures, mobilising structures and framing. The value of this approach is that it captures not only the often-overlooked public forms of resistance but also the negotiatory nature of statebuilding whereby the shape and form of statebuilding is mediated by the various statebuilding actors, both domestic and international.

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